Dall’s Porpoise

Phocoenoides dallii

Dall's Porpoise

Appearance

These porpoises have dark or grey-black skin and a white patch on their side and a white triangle on their dorsal fin; the dorsal fin is triangular and has a hook at the end. They have a stubby body and a small pointed head. They grow to just over two metres long and can weigh over 200 kilograms.

Range & Habitat

Dall’s porpoises are found throughout the north Pacific Ocean, both in the open ocean and close to land where there is deep water. Scientists think there are over one million Dall’s porpoises in the north Pacific Ocean.

Diet & Behaviour

They eat squid, small crustaceans and many small fish, like herring and anchovies. They are deep-water feeders, and can dive for up to four or five minutes. They are the fastest swimmer of all whales and porpoises, and they have been recorded swimming over 50 kilometres per hour. They don’t usually bring their whole body out of the water, but when they surface they make a big splash called a “rooster tail”.

Lifecycle & Threats

They sometimes breed with another grey-skinned species of porpoise, the harbour porpoise, giving birth to babies that have grey skin but act like a Dall’s porpoise. Baby Dall’s porpoises are about 1 metre long, and female porpoises can usually start giving birth when they are around four years old. Fisheries threaten Dall’s porpoises, both because they are fished on purpose and because they are often accidentally caught in nets used by salmon and squid fishermen. They are also prey for Orcas and other whales.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.bcadventure.com

Photo: Patenaude